Loose Change with Mark David Magat: Art Through Your Lens

Think for a second, what makes an artist one of the greats? Is it their skills behind their craft? Is it their charisma and connections? Or is it something else? In a world where artistry is a commodity, your creative eye isn’t.

With the world growing more connected, becoming a professional artist or creative being can be a viable option; in that, we get lost in an ocean of products and techniques to create these products. But what sets one apart from this vast sea of creators? Let me ask, what makes you, you?

Like a fingerprint or a falling snowflake, everyone has a unique story to tell. No two people have the exact same lifestyle and what can make a great piece of art is something only you can see or experience.

Take for example all the pieces inspired by mental health issues. The Inktober project on mental health gained so much ground because of how personal it was. Yes, more than one person can experience a certain illness, but the symptoms and reactions can and are different from person to person. Showing what they experienced with mental illness and how they saw the world through that lens is unique and powerful.

Other than mostly negative situations, your happiest moments can be a source of inspiration for your next piece. A photo of a newborn baby in your family or someone in your family graduating college can inspire millions. But all this can be more powerful with the lens you give to the situation. By showing your pride or joy in those moments, it has more of a chance for people to connect and be touched by it.

But I can hear people say that we get inspiration or knowledge from learning from other artists’ work, but there’s a point where it moves from inspiration into copying and basically using that as a crutch. Learning the most you can about a particular craft is very important, but at some point you need to learn how to create your own style and story.

I get it, learning why things work the way they do in a piece will help us as artists in how we use certain techniques to our advantage. Take my field, photography. There are certain rules and guidelines that help convey a notion or a feeling but just learning these rules by themselves can water down both your artistic vision and your growth as a creative craftsman.

Using what you know of your craft is certainly very useful, but anyone can learn how to put in settings or make a stroke on a piece of paper, but no one else has lived your life and that’s what makes your work unique. Adding a touch of who you are is the key to making work that’ll stand out.